Baked pasta dishes are in a class all to themselves.
Almost like their own food group.
There is nothing like a bubbling cheesy gooey warm tasty pasta dish fresh out of the oven.
And this dish has become one of my family’s new favorites (found in one of my tried and true go-to cookbooks). The smell of this hot comfort food baking in the oven is enough to drive your entire household crazy.
Yet — I have a secret to share.
You see, it’s totally healthy and Weight Watchers friendly…without sacrificing a single forkful of flavor. It taste like you’re breaking all the rules. But, the combination of turkey sausage, fat-free marinara sauce (I used my mom’s recipe…more on that later), part-skim mozzarella and whole wheat pasta cut way down on the fat and calories normally found in baked pasta dishes.
This recipe can easily get split into 2 smaller baking dishes to stretch it out into two meals. I like to use small disposable baking dishes, assemble, then freeze half to bake later for a quick hectic weeknight dinner. And the cooked leftovers reheat quite nicely in a microwave for work day lunches.
- 1 package (16 ounces) uncooked penne pasta (I used whole wheat)
- 1 medium green pepper, chopped (I used an Anaheim)
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound Italian turkey sausage links, casings removed
- 3 cups fat-free meatless spaghetti sauce (I used a low-fat marinara sauce)
- 1-1/2 cups (6 ounces) shredded reduced-fat 2% milk mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Cook pasta according to package directions; drain. In a large skillet, saute green pepper and onion in oil for 6-7 minutes. Add sausage; cook and stir until sausage is no longer pink. Drain. Stir in the spaghetti sauce and pasta.
- Transfer to a 3-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Cover and bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes. Uncover; sprinkle with cheeses. Bake 5-10 minutes longer or until cheese is melted.